3-8-14 Hodgepodge

Saturday, March 08, 2014

How Not to Sell

A customer (or potential customer) should be treated with respect.

Don't force the user into any sort of education. Sometimes they can't do it. Sometimes they have other important things to do and want to skip it. Sometimes they already know how it works. There are tons of reasons why people don't want to be forced into learning something so don't force them if you want them to like your products.
This kind of thing is annoying because it is presumptuous. It astounds me (though it probably shouldn't) that such an approach is not at all unusual in today's culture.

Weekend Reading

"A relationship with an age difference (within legal boundaries, of course) ought to be approached like any other." -- Michael Hurd, in "Age Difference in Romance: Good or Bad?" at The Delaware Wave

"[An] attitude of enlightened self-interest certainly beats the martyr-like, self-sacrificial attitude of, 'I'll just suffer through it -- for the kids.'" -- Michael Hurd, in "Kids Need Happy Parents" at The Delaware Coast Press

"Ultimately, however, the proper legal protection of privacy will depend on the Supreme Court overturning the third-party doctrine and, even better, the 'reasonable expectation of privacy' test on which it rests." -- Amy Peikoff, in "How Privacy Became Illegal" at PJ Media

In More Detail

Many people can easily see that remaining in an unhappy marriage "for the kids' sake" is bad for anyone doing it, but less obvious is the impact this can have on the alleged beneficiaries. In the second column linked above, Michael Hurd sets the record straight.

Windows for Free

Microsoft will soon offer a version of its operating system for free:
Google offers free OSes to computer and phone makers as a way of driving the use of its search engine and countless other web services, and now, Microsoft is at least experimenting with the idea of doing much the same thing. According to the report, its free operating system is known as Windows 8.1 With Bing. As the name implies, the OS is meant to feed the use of Microsoft's own search engine, as well as other Microsoft cloud services and software applications.
This seems like a good move on their part, but in my opinion, a better one would be just to port Office and similar applications to Linux. If I really had to use the latest version of Office on a regular basis, I'd still rather slap it on some secondary computer and keep using Linux most of the time. Perhaps I am atypical, but being able to buy Office for less hardly makes up for the loss of flexibility and out-of-the box functionality a full switch to a new OS would entail.



Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

After having purchased MS Office 3 times in the last decade, I decided that Open Office was sufficient for me. And it didn't have the tendency to disappear from operability that plagued MS Office when I was having (Microsoft) OS problems. Plus, you don't need to constantly prove that you bought the damn thing.

Sometimes you just have to wonder about Microsoft OSes. I bought an old XP system from a friend who was going out of business. It was getting short disk space - Microsoft kept popping the icon telling me that I only had 5 GB left - so I decided I'd buy some breathing room. I deleted the MS Office.

When I rebooted, the system wouldn't load - it said that I had less than 1 MB of disk space available. Exactly how a program deletion with 5 GB remaining turns into less than 1 MB remaining is beyond me. I guess they do math differently in Redmond.

I had to go into safe mode - restore the previous settings including some truncated version of MS Office (which was now inoperable, cuz, ya know, I 'deleted' it) to get any functionality out of the system at all.

It is possible that some blame belongs to Dell since the XP involved was a Dell OEM version, but really, the same question about their mathematics still applies.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


Well, I guess I WILL go ahead and say the following then:

(1) I fired Bill Gates nearly twenty years ago. The last Windows PC I ever purchased -- for myself, anyway -- would have required an outlay of about a thousand bucks to make me able to do useful work. (I was in grad school back then). I halved that by switching to Linux.

(2) Part of the problem was that, while the computer technically did come with an office suite (and a few other things like that) installed, it was all crippleware, and ALWAYS, for example, required an extra saving step to get a file format that a computer at work could read. I think it's a safe bet that "Windows 8.1 with Bing" will have some kind of similar means (i.e., making something easy difficult) of wearing people down to buy more and more from them.

Your experience is par for the course with that outfit.